Catching Up With…Joe Lynn Turner
You have three upcoming shows in the New England area from May 3-5 what can your longtime fans expect from these performances?
It’s been a long time since I’ve been up there so I think that they are going to hear some Rainbow, some Deep Purple, some original material maybe a cover or two possibly Hendrix or something like that. They are really going to see and hear a power-packed show because we got a super band and we are going to deliver for sure.
Who is in your current touring line-up?
That with lineup will be Jules Radino on drums (Blue Oyster Cult since 2004), Angus Clark on guitar (Trans- Siberian Orchestra, Rock of Ages) Rob De Martino on bass (Virgin Steele, Rondinelli) and Dr. Gary Gerber on keyboards. All have played with me and with many other projects over the years so it’s like playing with friends. It’s a killer band.
Is it tough to pick a setlist at this point given your vast array of different bands, solo records, and side projects?
Honestly, that’s a great question it really is. Because when you’ve got over 1000 songs to pull from you can’t satisfy everybody all the time. I always hear the fans screaming out different songs no matter what you play and the bottom line is you just can’t play them all. It’s extremely difficult to put a setlist together. However, since I haven’t played in a lot of these areas in a very long time I think the mixture we have come with will satisfy the vast majority of my fans coming to these shows. When we come back to these same areas hopefully a lot sooner this time, we can consider some changes to the set. At this point, most fans want to hear what got them interested and listening to me in the first place. My fans across the board will be very satisfied.
Yes. We considered touring and we talked to Frontiers records about it and they weren’t convinced about a full-fledged tour but we are going to do in April of 2018 is headline the Frontiers Festival and perform an entire set of Sunstorm material only from all 5 albums because there will be another one on the way prior to the show. The band will be the current lineup. We will be recording this also for a live cd/dvd package as well. Instead of tour support let’s just do one show headline the set perform a lot of songs and have something for the fans. But I’d love to do a full tour.
In 2016 Ritchie Blackmore played a few select shows in Europe as Rainbow. You have gone on record as indicating that there was a proposal to not only include you but Doogie White and Graham Bonnet as well but that ultimately Ritchie chose to go in the direction he did. Have you seen or heard any footage from these performances and what were your general thoughts on the shows?
Only what I have seen on YouTube. It’s tough to really call it “Rainbow” in my opinion because they performed as many Deep Purple songs as they did Rainbow material so I’m not quite sure what’s up with that. Ritchie was quoted when asked why did you do it besides the money it appears he went this route because he didn’t want to put together an authentic reunion. That was my original plan and it was at least a year or so in the making dealing with management and so on. We had a very large deal on the table with Universal Music, Live Nation and we were going to headline arena type venues and festivals. Yet he didn’t go for that. At least the management didn’t go for it, I’m not totally convinced that Ritchie knew a lot about it. It’s a shame because it’s the fans don’t benefit from this. I had reached out to Bob Daisley and others about being involved. What we wanted to do was a 2-hour extravaganza with everybody that’s still left from the past even Jimmy Bain prior to his passing. Something like that really would have been an amazing spectacular show. LiveNation was all for it. I can’t tell you what happened I can just throw my hands in the air and say ok. This is what he wanted to do. Good luck. No sour grapes nothing like that. He wanted to do it this way. For what reason, I don’t know. I saw the footage and I wasn’t super impressed by it.
Joe, you toured with the band “Over the Rainbow” in 2008-2009 which included Ritchie’s son Jurgen, drummer Bobby Rondinelli, Tony Carey and Greg Smith and your set included songs from the entire Rainbow catalog. Was this done with Ritchie’s blessing at the time, did you then ever consider recording new material and would you revisit this again in the future?
Yes, when we initially put this together Jurgen (Blackmore) had spoken to his dad about this and of course he was a tad skeptical at first because he didn’t want us to use the logo or opening theme music. We had already agreed not to use it. We are “Over The Rainbow” and that’s who we are. Just out of respect to him we wanted Ritchie aware of it before we started. He was ok. He had a really great run with that lineup and we did intend on getting into the studio at that time and recording some original material but then the whole band kind of fell apart. I have a few songs on my computer that I still have that Jurgen and I were working on and I believe some of that material ended up on his solo record released shortly thereafter. I’m not sure we’d do it again it worked well. When we played Sweden Rocks Festival and we were the dark horse band on the bill and pulled a lot of people to our stage that we were playing on. It was a great band but sometimes egos get in the way and some personal problems and financial problems of course, all bands do. I couldn’t continue any longer so I gave my blessing and told them that if they wanted to continue with Doogie or someone else, then by all means. The promoters said no because without me there would be no demand. So it just ended.
I read Yngwie Malmsteen fans state categorically online all the time why can’t he get a singer like he had with Joe Lynn Turner? That’s got to be not only the highest compliment to you personally but also it must make you look back that album and tour in 1988 with fondness?
That “Odyssey” (1988) was a great record point blank. Nothing more to say, really. Yngwie’s efforts and my efforts were some our best. No matter what we did before or after it’s some of our best work. We were both at our peak at that time bother personally and professionally and I believe the tension between us and the comradery we had between us pushed us to work harder. I know Yngwie can be difficult to work with it but we got on. We truly pushed ourselves to the limits and when you play that record you can’t help but feel the excitement and so much great material. I was talking to Jens Johansson the keyboardist on that record just the other day and we were talking about the old days. We both agreed that it’s maybe Yngwie’s best work then and maybe that he’ll ever do. Why he doesn’t last with singers, I don’t know. There have been several good ones. There is a chemistry that’s needed and if it doesn’t work you’ll never come out with the same results. I do get complimented on this record all the time from the fans so I thank them. I get asked often why don’t you get back in with Yngwie. Well the reluctance to do so is not coming from my end. Not sure If it’s his management or Yngwie himself, they just seemed opposed to having me back on board. I really think it’s the two bulls in a china shop theory and he couldn’t take the other bull being as strong as he was in that shop. I always told him I’m the singer you’re the guitar player what is there to be jealous about?
I’m a very big fan of the Deep Purple you sang on, “Slaves and Masters” album/tour from 1990. Now after the tour ended from everything I’ve read you were forced out of the band and Gillian retuned. So the material on “The Battle Rages On“(1993) was originally intended for you to record so my question is where you involved in the writing/demo stages of any of those tracks or where you dismissed prior to work in the studio?
I was involved with quite a few tracks on that record before it all fell apart. There was just so much backlash going on at that point because of certain tension that arouse especially with Jon (Lord) and Ian (Paice) who both wanted Ian Gillian back in the band. Roger (Glover) was pretty much in the middle and Ritchie wanted me. The best thing that I thought to do at the time was to step away and just say look you guys do what you have to do because the infighting was getting too much. In those situations, I felt that nothing was going to work anymore. I was happy to be in Purple at the time in a sense. I think Ritchie’s behavior after that really showed what the truth was. I was told he was offered a big check to do the album and right after they went out on tour he left after just a few shows. Ritchie has often been quoted as saying that “Slaves and Masters” is that last great Purple record.
The Hughes/Turner partnership (2002-2003) produced two studio albums and a live record as well. What’s the best memory you have of this period either in the studio or out on the road?
Actually, so many memories in both places. The studio time was super creative. I remember Glenn and I just being super inspirational to each other. We were writing some great songs and we both thought that we had a diamond in our hands, and we did. Those two records are both stand outs. The first record being a tad more on the rock side and the second record was a little bit more progressive a tad more modern at times. We had a fantastic time on the road. Anyone who witnessed those performances till to this day rave about them. We were great live. We had some great musicians. Killer band. The two of us on stage together is something else. It was such a fun project and I’m so glad we did it. Glenn and I are still very close and we wish each other the best all the time. I hope to work together with Glenn in the future who knows maybe another tour or something.
Joe any other projects, albums or touring that is coming up in 2017 and beyond?
Working on another project that’s still in its infancy stages at the moment because I’ve been so busy with touring and everything else that’s coming up. I’ll be doing some more writing in June and then who knows when we’ll get this thing out because I do have the 5th Sunstorm album to complete and the live record next year and a couple of other recording projects I’m involved with as well. The future is a busy one and I’m having blast. Looking forward to seeing all my fans in New England very soon.